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Front Pages 14 Mar, 2022 Follow News


Global health experts are keeping a close watch on the emergence of the latest strain of the COVID-19 virus.

The World Health Organisation(WHO) says a hybrid of the Omicron and Delta variants being referred to as ‘Deltacron’ has begun circulating in Europe and has been identified in other places including the United States.

At least two cases have also been identified in the UK and reports suggest it is only a matter of time before more cases are confirmed.

The UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there were "no concerns at all" when asked about the Deltacron variant, and added, “There are variants that we would obviously keep under review.”

The WHO says while there might be concerns about a new COVID strain at a time when overall cases globally have been on the decline, there isn’t cause for alarm at this stage.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove COVID-19 technical lead at the WHO, said there is very good surveillance in many countries right now and as a result experts have determined "there are very low levels of this detection."

"This is to be expected,” she said, “especially with the intense circulation of Omicron and Delta."

Scientists believe that in countries with high COVID-19 vaccination rates and a substantial immunity against both Delta and Omicron, the Deltacron variant is not likely to evade vaccines.

The Delta variant had more severe effects on people who were infected while the Omicron, though less severe, was more transmissible.

Medical experts say Deltacron won’t be the last mutation of the COVID-19 virus to occur and it continues to be closely monitored.

With only a small number of cases of Deltacron so far identified, however, there is not yet enough data about the severity of the variant or how well vaccines protect against it.

Reports of Deltacron first circulated in early January after Leondios Kostrikis, a virologist in Cyprus, said his team had discovered what looked like a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants. He was the first to publicly label it Deltacron.

But his findings were disputed at the time.

"People said at the time that it was a contaminant in the lab, but, it seems now it probably wasn't," Dr. Russo said.

The WHO’s Dr Van Kerkhove said the new Deltacron variant is being closely studied.

"We have not seen any change in the epidemiology, change in severity, but there are many studies that are underway.”

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